8 key tech and science projects getting funding in the federal budget 2018

SpaceX via Getty ImageA Tesla roadster launched from the Falcon Heavy rocket with a dummy driver named ‘Starman’.

The Turnbull government 2018 federal budget has funding for a number of cool science and tech projects.

Here are just a few of them.

Super computers

The government is continuing to invest in supercomputing, including upgrading two supercomputers with total funding of $140 million for the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth and the National Computational Infrastructure facility at the Australian National University.

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre helps advance medical research, nanotechnology, mining, construction and urban planning with high-speed calculations. It supports research to maximise combustion in supersonic engines and model the physics of extreme waves to capture energy.

A medical industry growth plan

The government will provide $1.3 billion over 10 years from 2017-18 for a National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan to improve health outcomes and develop Australia as a global destination for medical sector jobs, research and clinical trials.

This would be supported through investments in medical innovation that enhance the sustainability of the health system, deliver long-term health benefits and strengthen partnerships between researchers, healthcare professionals, biomedtech firms, government and the community. These investments, using proceeds from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), will include:

• $500 million over 10 years from 2017-18 committed to the Genomics Health Futures Mission, including $10.7 million in 2017-18 for genomics research;
• $240 million committed to the Frontier Health and Medical Research program;
• $248 million for expanded clinical trial programs;
• $125 million over nine years from 2019-20 to contribute to the Targeted Translation Research Accelerator for chronic conditions focussed on diabetes and heart disease; and
• $94.3 million for biomedtech programs and industry research collaborations.

The government will also provide:

• $30 million to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to improve . accessibility to health information and statistics, including better data sharing capability and ICT upgrades;
• $20 million to support the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board develop strategies and priorities for health and medical research and innovation; and
• $2.8 million to the Department of Health for administrative costs associated with this measure.

Boosting women’s participation in STEM

The government will provide $4.5 million over four years from 2018-19 to encourage more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. The funding will progress:

• the Women in Science Strategy;
• a decadal plan for women in science, to provide a roadmap for sustained increases in women’s STEM participation;
• the work of the new Women in STEM Ambassador who will focus on promoting STEM in schools and to school-aged girls; and
• the development and distribution of a STEM Choices resources kit to address the under-representation of girls in STEM education.

Building Australia’s Artificial Intelligence capability to support business

The government will provide $29.9 million over four years from 2018-19 to strengthen Australia’s capability in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), supporting economic growth and the productivity of Australian businesses.

This measure supports business innovation in sectors such as digital health, digital agriculture, energy, mining and cybersecurity, through:

• the provision of additional funding to the Cooperative Research Centres Program to support projects from AI and ML capabilities;
• funding for AI and ML-focused PhD scholarships and school-related learning to address skill gaps; and
• the development of a Technology Roadmap, Standards Framework and a national AI Ethics Framework to identify global opportunities and guide future investments.

Growing the Australian space industry

The government will provide $41 million over four years from 2018-19 to grow the Australian space industry, including by establishing a National Space Agency.

This includes funding of:

• $26 million over four years from 2018-19 to establish a National Space Agency, which will coordinate domestic space activities for Australia; and
• $15 million over three years from 2019-20 to establish the International Space Investment project, which will provide grants to strategic space projects that generate employment and business opportunities for Australians.

Helping Australian businesses protect their big ideas

The government will provide $600,000 in 2018-19 to fund the development of a detailed business case to modernise IP Australia’s patents management system and streamline access to its services via digital channels.

This measure will support Australian businesses to protect their intellectual property, and in so doing, support and strengthen innovation in the Australian economy.

World class satellite imagery for Australian businesses

The government will provide $36.9 million over three years from 2019-20 (and $12.8 million ongoing) to provide governments, businesses, researchers and individuals with access — through the Digital Earth Australia program — to reliable standardised satellite data.

This data can be used to build new digital products and services for commercial purposes, and to interpret and analyse changes to Australia’s physical landscape, enabling better understanding of environmental changes, such as Jobs and Innovation coastal erosion, crop growth and water quality.

Access to satellite imagery data has a broad range of applications including assisting farmers to monitor animal grazing patterns and increase the efficiency and utilisation of their land. It can also provide governments with the tools to reduce future flood impacts through improved disaster planning.

MORE FROM OUR FEDERAL BUDGET 2018 COVERAGE:

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